Be an Advocate


Issue #38, September 18, 2017

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Our hearts go out to all of those who have been affected by the recent disasters. FRAC is working with a variety of national groups, as well as groups and officials in affected states, to get disaster-responsive nutrition programs up and running. Please visit our special Disaster Relief web page and blog post for regular updates.

Disaster Food Assistance

‘The Aftermath of the Aftermath’: Hurricanes Stretch Safety Net and Providers – Governing, September 12, 2017
Texas families affected by Hurricane Harvey, many of whom are homeless and unable to work, are receiving state and federal assistance in covering food expenses, and anti-hunger advocates are giving high marks to the efforts. “It’s gratifying to see,” said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research & Action Center. USDA “has responded quickly and effectively and appropriately to the crisis.” The safety net is crucial because “the consequences of a major disaster hit the hardest the people who have the least,” said Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy.

Harvey victims in some Southeast Texas counties can start applying for temporary food benefits today – 12 News Now, September 13, 2017
Jasper, Newton, Orange, Sabine, and Tyler are the first counties in Texas to launch registration for Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) benefits for eligible victims of Hurricane Harvey. The state will announce dates and locations for residents in additional counties to sign up for benefits as additional registration locations are set up. Eligible residents are those who live in a county declared a federal disaster area, have experienced certain disaster-related expenses, were not receiving SNAP benefits at the time of the disaster, and meet certain income limits.

Protecting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Report shows hunger in Oregon declines – KTVZ, September 10, 2017
Oregon’s food insecurity rate, according to USDA, dropped from 16.1 percent in 2013-2015 to 14.6 percent in 2014–2016, and anti-hunger organizations say SNAP is part of the reason for the decrease. “As Congress addresses the budget, our lawmakers must strengthen SNAP, not cut it,” said Annie Kirschner, executive director of Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. “SNAP is the single most critical source of help for our neighbors experiencing hunger,” said Susannah Morgan, CEO of the Oregon Food Bank. “We as a country must stay the course and invest in SNAP until not one of our neighbors worries about where their next meal is coming from.”

Despite improvement, too many Utahns still experience food insecurity – Utah Policy, September 11, 2017
In this op-ed, Gina Cornia, executive director of Utahns Against Hunger, urges the Utah Congressional delegation to “protect the integrity, structure, and funding” for SNAP and school meal programs. “Without question, cuts to these programs would make food insecurity in this country, and in Utah, far worse.” Although Utah’s food insecurity rate dropped in 2016 from 14.3 percent to 11.5 percent, the state “still has a significant number of households who struggle to afford enough food.”

Thousands in Ozarks need daily food assistance. SNAP helps. – News-Leader, September 9, 2017
“[E]ach year over 828,000 people across the state rely on SNAP,” writes Bart Brown, president and CEO of Ozarks Food Harvest (a food bank in Missouri), in this op-ed. “Food banks like ours could never replace all that SNAP does — last year Missourians received $1.2 billion in benefits.” Brown concludes by urging readers to advocate for SNAP, raise awareness of the need for the program, and notes that it is essential Congress fully fund SNAP.

Protecting SNAP keeps Kentuckians nourished – News-Enterprise, September 9, 2017
Cuts to SNAP proposed by the House “would pull the rug out beneath the most vulnerable in our society, including children, the elderly and people with disabilities,” writes Tamara Sandberg, executive director of the Kentucky Association of Food Banks, in this op-ed. SNAP benefits 65 percent of Kentucky households served by a food bank, and keeps 164,000 in the state out of poverty each year. “As Congress continues the budget process, I hope the members of Kentucky’s Congressional delegation will keep in mind how important SNAP is to so many Kentuckians.”

U.S. House budget plan is indefensible – Montana Standard, September 13, 2017
In this op-ed, Rev. Donna Gleaves, of the Episcopal Diocese of Montana and a member of the Montana Association of Christians, urges Congress and Representative Greg Gianforte (R-MT) to reject the House budget proposal containing $150 billion in SNAP cuts over the next decade. Instead, Congress should strengthen the program, which “provides a lifeline for adults and families who may not be earning a living wage or have fallen on hard times, while also providing support for people with disabilities and seniors living on limited fixed incomes.”

Demonstrators gather in Martinsburg in support of SNAP – Journal-News, September 14, 2017
Demonstrators in Martinsburg, West Virginia, asked Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) to publicly pledge to oppose cuts to SNAP. About 356,000 of the state’s residents, and 43 million Americans, rely on the program, which is in danger of sustaining budget cuts of $191 billion over 10 years. The current House proposal would cut West Virginia’s SNAP funding by 25 percent, with the assumption that the state would make up the difference, which the state would most likely be unable to do.

Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)

Armona schools make changes to their lunch program – Hanford Sentinel, September 12, 2017
Armona Unified School District in California is continuing to participate in CEP this school year and provide free school meals to all students at Armona Elementary and Parkview Middle School students. CEP “helps with not having to label kids,” said school superintendent Xavier Pina. Schools implementing CEP have seen significant school meal participation increases and, in many cases, improved attendance, according to the California Department of Education.

Food Insecurity

Fewer Maryland families going without enough to eat – The Baltimore Sun, September 8, 2017
According to USDA, the number of Maryland families struggling with food insecurity decreased from 13.3 percent from 2011 to 2013 to 10.1 percent from 2014 to 2016. “There are a lot of organizations successfully trying to help people facing hunger and poverty,” said Michael J. Wilson, director of Maryland Hunger Solutions. “But these are still challenging times for a lot of people. We will take the good news where we can find it, but the challenge is how can we continue to make progress.” A drop in the unemployment rate contributed in part to the decrease in food insecurity, said Wilson.

Poverty Data

An ‘uncomfortable’ life: Philly still America’s poorest big city –, September 14 2017
The recently released U.S. Census American Community Survey shows Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s 2016 poverty rate, at 25.7 percent, as unchanged from 2015. More than 37 percent of the city’s children lived in poverty in 2016. “It’s incredibly disheartening to see that Philadelphia hasn’t shared in the gains seen nationally,” said Kathy Fisher, policy director at the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger. In addition, the percentage of hungry children in Bucks County has increased over the past 18 months, said Marissa Christie, president and CEO of United Way of Bucks County.